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Burton Heights

Academics / Departments & Programs / Nursing / Student Experience / Community Nursing / Burton Heights

Calvin in the neighborhood

The Burton Heights neighborhood abounds in community resources like schools, clinics, and pantries. It has a large Spanish-speaking population, so you can have a chance to work on your language skills.

Students learn about the communicative struggles and social determinants of health, like transportation, safe neighborhoods, employment, education, and legal status.

Survey results

Calvin nursing students conducted community-based participatory research in 2002 with focus groups, community leaders, and door-to-door surveys. It identified neighborhood strengths, areas of growth, and solutions to residents' health concerns and how they thought Calvin nursing students could partner with them to promote health in their areas of concern. Research was done again in 2009 and 2016.

Research demonstrated:

  • Twenty-seven percent stated that they have had to choose between paying for essentials, like food or rent, and buying medical care.
  • Thirty-two percent agree that lack of health insurance prevents them from receiving the health care that they need.
  • Sixty-five percent are Spanish-speaking.
  • Thirty-seven percent visited the ER in the last year (2008).
  • The top five neighborhood health issues addressed were lack of access to health care, mental health asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.
  • They believe that family, education, and faith are important in day-to-day life.


You'll have opportunities to work in a variety of community settings. Work in clinics, food pantries, schools (with home care and public health nurses), and client homes.

As one of the hallmarks of the program, you and your peers will team up community health workers. Rather than waiting on people to approach health care providers, you can bring health education to them. Talk to parent groups in schools and churches. Go to public spaces like food pantries, exercise classes, and even door-to-door. You'll see how to care for your patients while being culturally sensitive and linguistically compatible.

The variety of experiences, combined with the diversity of individuals and the complex community needs, will challenge your Christian ethics, provide valuable learning, and serve one of Christ's vulnerable populations.

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